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The Influencer

Book Review: The Influencer, by Alex Grass

the influencer alex glassI won a copy of Alex GrassThe Influencer through Goodreads.

A Romanian sorcerer.
A nudist limo driver obsessed with Back to the Future.
A ten-foot-tall vigilante who mutilates their victims.

…and one old man who has been keeping a secret for half a century.

Out in the desert, a chasm opens that glows crimson below.
The possessed, cellphones drilled into their heads, run wild through the streets of New York.
And, a 24-hour MDMA-fueled dance party surrounding a site of ancient evil.

All this and more, in:


Standard ‘elitist’ attempt at erudition that just comes off as smug and self-important instead. It feels very much as if the author expected to throw out a lot of random, drug-fueled ideas and be called the newest Hunter S. Thompson. He takes pot shots at several groups of people, inferring ‘we’re’ smarter than they are and therefore they deserve their horrible fate.

I very much liked Yuma and her relationship with the men of the VFW. But she’s the only positive representation of women in the whole book. And I’ll note she’s very butch, so positively portrayed for enacting traditionally male traits, rather than for actually being female. The only other women of note are literally faceless and included solely for the sexual reward and gratification of a male character. (How very original. *eyeroll*)

The writing and editing are quite clean and the book is easily readable. There are a few stylistic decisions that readers will have to choose for themselves if they like, but they’re consistent throughout. But at 115 pages (the last bit being a preview of part II, though you’ll note that nowhere does this book say part I) this is ~1/3 of an actual story/book. Why do authors do this? It’s the true reason for my low rating. I understand breaking a 1500 page tome into parts for publication, but why a standard, probably 300ish page one? It left me with NO PAYOFF for having read it. No conclusion. Nothing significant learned? No significant desire for more, honestly. What’s the point of giving only the beginning?

Review of It’s All Fun and Games, by Dave Barrett

I won a paperback copy of Dave Barrett‘s It’s All Fun and Games through Goodreads

Description from Goodreads:
When Allison’s best friend, TJ, convinces her to come along for an epic game of LARP (live-action role-playing), she reluctantly agrees despite her reservations about the geeky pastime. TJ’s weekends are filled with powerful wizardry, mystical creatures, and intense battles with his LARP group. Each adventure is full of surprises, but the goal is always the same: to defeat the monsters and find the treasure.

Not long after their quest begins, the friends discover that something has gone wrong. The fantasy world they’ve built has transformed, and the battle they’re in the midst of is no longer make-believe.
Now they must fight for survival against brigands, kobolds, and other deadly mythical creatures that come to life. Fortunately, the group’s once-fictional magical powers have also become real – including Allison’s newly acquired gifts as a healer. They’ll need everything in their arsenal if they hope to make it home alive.

Meh, It was ok. I thought the pacing was inconsistent and the overly dramatic ‘fantasy speak’ tiresome. But I also acknowledge that the whole book is a parody of a DnD game. And in my limited experience, inconsistent pacing, as side quest drag on interminably, and over-wrought dialogue are par for the course. So, it is what it is and that’s ok. But I only somewhat enjoyed it.

Review of Let It Snow, by Nancy Thayer

I won a paperback copy of Nancy Thayer‘s Let it Snow through Goodreads. I read it now, in September, so that I can put it in the Little Free Library with the other holiday themed (or set) books in December.


Christina Antonioni is preparing for the holidays at her Nantucket toy shop, unpacking last-minute shipments and decorating for her loyal Christmas shoppers. But when her Scrooge of a landlord, Oscar Bittlesman, raises her rent, it seems nearly impossible for Christina to continue business on the wharf.

Even so, Christina hopes there is a warm heart underneath Oscar’s steely exterior. When she bonds with Wink, his sweet, young granddaughter who frequents the shop, it becomes clear that perhaps he isn’t so cold after all. And with the help of Wink’s uncle, who happens to be a charming and very handsome bachelor, this may be the best Christmas any of them could have ever imagined. Nancy Thayer’s enchanting Nantucket setting provides the perfect backdrop for this holiday love story. 


This is a hard book for me to review, because everyone’s taste varies and this particular kind of book makes me cringe. At about the halfway mark I thought, “This is the sort of book people who like the Hallmark Channel would enjoy.” It’s completely true. At one point the main character even sits down and watches it herself. Unfortunately, that particular brand of wholesome, clean (read bland in my opinion), never rings true for me. I dislike it extremely. But I also acknowledge that there is a reason the Hallmark Channel has been around as long as it has. There are people out there who love tis kind of feel-good cheese. I’m just not one of them.

So, I’ll give it a middle of the road three stars. Acknowledging that the writing is perfectly solid and though I can’t relate to a 3-week romance culminating in a proposal, or the crass talk of who is rich and who is poor, or even the fact that everyone refused to get involved in the business issue and that was somehow supposed to be fair, others will no doubt love this.